While Zynga higher ups might have been hoping that the staff members it fired out of the blue just a few days ago, would ride off into the game development sunset, that’s not how it works when there’s an internet to please. One disgruntled ex-employee has conducted a Reddit AMA, where details of the company’s atmosphere and business practices have come to light.
“Oh hell no. Their business strategy is terrible,” he says, in one response. “Their major issues are the inability to adjust to the changing market. They did great when Facebook gaming was on the rise, but now it’s declining and Mobile is on the rise.”
He goes on to describe that it’s data gathering that is proving to be the downfall of Zyga. It gathered so much information about popular features when it was making – some would say cloning – Facebook games, but that data is being translated poorly and used far too much to define new game features that don’t work quite so well on mobile.
“Zynga also follows popular trends too closely, “If some games jumps to the top of the Top Grossing charts then everyone need to drop everything and change to follow it,” he said, also highlighting an obvious problem with Zynga, its lack of truly new games: “They rely too much on reacting to what is making money now, and too much on their own data. They don’t strive to make anything new or innovative and that’s no way to excel in the games market.”
Of course the topic of ripping off other game companies came up too, with this developer saying it left a bad taste in their mouth. “I think that early on it was blatant. Later it became well known practice at Zynga, but rather poor taste. Dream Heights/Tiny Tower was a big slap in the face. Sims Social/The Ville was the last straw. Towards the end of my time it was not so much that games were straight up ripped off, but key features would be. Such as the general method or menu flow that a game handles it’s multiplayer. The idea being that if it works for that game, it would work for our game.”
They did however, get a pretty decent severance package: 4.5 months pay, plus insurance. Not everyone got quite that much, but its a reasonable bundle.
Kitguru Says: Nothing completely unexpected here. Lots of micro-management and copycatting. That said, how do you guys feel about the morality of people that work somewhere like this? Presumably if this person hadn’t have been fired, they’d still be working for the nasties.